Chicken Thighs with Tomatillo Salsa
10 to 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (depending on how many you find to a package)
2 15-18 ounce jars medium-hot tomatillo salsa
1 large onion, peeled and cut into thick slices
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 medium or 2 large poblano chiles (use regular green bell peppers if you can’t find poblanos)
2 jalapeño or serrano peppers
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Optional toppings: diced avocado, diced tomato, chopped onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice, queso fresco
Place an oven rack in the highest position and preheat the broiler. Put the poblanos, serranos, garlic cloves, and onion slices on a baking sheet. Broil until everything is nicely charred, turning as needed. Take out the onion, garlic and small peppers when they’re ready – the poblanos may need more time.
While the vegetables are broiling, heat a film of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. When shimmering, add the jarred salsa and stir for a minute while it boils. Turn down the head and simmer the salsa to reduce it by about a third.
When the vegetables are charred, immediately put the poblanos in a bowl and cover the bowl with a towel or with plastic wrap. Let cool. Let the other vegetables cool a couple of minutes, then peel the garlic and cut the stem off the small chiles. Put them in a blender or food processor along with the onion slices and the chicken or vegetable stock. Blend up until just a little chunky. Pour this mixture in with the reduced salsa, and reduce again by about a third. Taste it for salt and also to see if it needs a little vinegar to get a nice tang. If so, add the cider vinegar about ½ teaspoon at a time until it tastes the way you like it. Cover the salsa to keep it warm.
Peel the blackened skin off the cooled poblanos and carefully cut out the seed pod and stem. Roughly chop the poblanos and set them aside.
While the sauce is reducing, cut the chicken thighs into 1-inch pieces. Dry the pieces, salt them, then heat more vegetable in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven. Brown the chicken pieces all over – you will probably have to do this in batches. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate or bowl as they brown.
Pour the reduced salsa into the skillet and scrape up the bottom to incorporate any brown chicken bits. Add the chicken and the chopped poblanos, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Taste for salt and vinegar. Serve with any or all of the toppings.